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Turkey Tail Mushroom : Benefits, Foraging Tips

June 29, 2023

Once you have seen a turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicoloralso known as Coriolus versicolor), you will be left with no doubt about why it got that common name.

Turkey tail mushrooms resemble the fanned tail of a strutting male turkey. They have bands of beautiful colors ranging from brown and tan to grey and purple.

These amazing little mushrooms grow on dead wood and work hard to help decompose the matter, returning it to the earth.

They are extremely common and grow in almost all forests throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. If you have spent any time at all hiking in the woods, chances are you will have passed some turkey tails.

If you aren’t into foraging, don’t worry, turkey tail is a very common mushroom to buy as a health supplement in pharmacies or online.

The Health Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushrooms

  • Turkey tail mushrooms have been found to be very high in antioxidants including phenols and flavonoids. In fact, one study found turkey tails to have 35 different antioxidants.
  • Turkey tail mushrooms also contain polysaccharopeptides. These are protein-bound polysaccharides, or carbohydrates. These polysaccharopeptides are said to naturally strengthen the immune system and ease inflammation in the body.
  • Turkey tail mushrooms are also a good source of prebiotics. Prebiotics act as food for healthy gut flora helping it to grow and flourish. It is particularly good at promoting Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus while fighting harmful bacteria, such as Clostridium and Staphylococcus.
  • How to Find Turkey Tail Mushrooms in The Wild

Turkey tail mushrooms are super common. What should be noted, though, is that two of its look-alikes are super common, too.

Check out these key identifying features of the turkey tail mushroom:

  • It grows on dead and decaying wood such as sicks, stumps, logs, and fallen branches.
  • It grows in shelf-like form or in rosettes with no stems.
  • It is very thin, tough, flexible, and leathery.
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